Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Neeed somewhere to live? Try a shed

A twist in Dublin's housing market has provoked outrage.
Local residents are fuming after An Bord Pleanala gave permission for a shed in a Blanchardstown garden to be used as living accommodation.
Fingal Co Council learned this week that the board had overruled the recommendation of its own inspector and of the council concerning use of the shed.
Neighbours of the property at Summerfield Meadows said they were bitterly disappointed by the decision.
Labour TD Joan Burton said the development was "astonishing" and "disturbing" and could open the floodgates for similar shed conversions.
The Dublin West TD called on the chair of An Bord Pleanala to explain how it reached the "extraordinary' decision".
She also urged him to explain what precedence it set for similar applications, whether in Dublin 15 or nationwide.
"In making its decision the board overturned both the recommendation of its own inspector and of Fingal Co Council, who quite rightly opposed the conversion of a concrete garden shed, in the back garden of a semi-detached house, into living accommodation," she said.
Although the decision allowed the shed to be used for living purposes for just five years, and it had to be occupied only by people connected to the household, it was difficult to see how the board or the council was going to check that this condition was complied with, she added.
Mother of one Tanya Grogan, whose garden backs onto the property, said: "We are very upset and disenchanted with the whole system," said "What is the point of having a planning system in place if you can build and then get permission retrospectively? People can obviously do what they like."
She added: "When our neighbour built a flat roof, my husband objected to the size of the shed, but one day we came home and there were roof trusses there.
"It is so imposing. It is like the size of a garden wall and then the same height again.
"I wrote to every councillor in the area to get them to do something."
The decision followed an appeal by David and Mary O'Donnell of Summerfield Meadows against a decision of July 11 last year by Fingal Co Council to refuse planning permission.
Anne-Marie Walsh
© Irish Independent

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